Saturday, October 18, 2014

Forget Dogs...

October 13, 2014 Forget dogs...WATER is mans best friend, Im convinced. Dogs are much lower on the priority scale of man. This week was rough, unsurprisingly, and muito chato. It was eye opening though to understand how many things you truly take for granted in your native land, that you never really think about, such as two knobs on your faucets and shower, to adjust the water to hot and cold. Everywhere here has one knob, and one knob only. But things much more important than this are things such as the ability to communicate with those around you! Some people are timid to talk with strangers, but others just cant do it because they dont know what the heck anyone is saying! Thats pertty much where Im at right now. Im definitely improving as far as understanding other people, but Im still timid to speak a lot in conversations because I dont want to mess up the flow of the lesson that my companion is engaged in. In the CTM the teachers pretend like they can basically understand what you are saying, even if you make some gramatical mistakes. This is very misleading, because in the field, when you make gramatical mistakes or say something wrong, people look at you like something is wrong with you haha which has happened many a time. So needless to say its a struggle here in Brazil country, but its not without successes as well. Some of our conversations with people I can understand almost everything, while other times I cant understand bulufas. Its most hard to put myself out there and try to converse with people even though theyll probably look at me like my head is on backwards, or theyll just start talking to my companion instead haha often times also I feel like I totally know that what I just said made sense, and was said in a way that the person on the other side should have understood perfectly, and then they say O QUE? WHAT?? But its ok. Missionary work in Brazil is a little different than in the US also, for example we got let into probably 8 houses in 2 days here while clapping in front of houses, offering to say a prayer to bless families living in the house. In the US, I got let in 3 or 4 times at most in 15 months haha Ive met some awesome people with so much faith and humility, most of whos names have failed me but some include Iliana, Fernando, Philipe, and Flavia. I know with time, with prayers, and with faith Ill learn this darnd language eventually. Thank you so much for your prayers and faith- keep it up! Love, Elder Hirschi

Monday, October 13, 2014


October 8th, 2014 I have just arrived in Birigui, my first area! Actually I left the MTC in São Paulo on Tuesday at 3:30, after waking up at 230. We took a 1 hour flight to Ribeirão Preto, and met th emission President and his wife, and the two assistants there. After meeting them at the airport we went straight to the mission office, in the middle of Ribeirão, where we got a series of trainings, yata yata yata. It was great. And the craziest thing about it, is that right as a I arrived, I recognized 3 different people who were all in the MTC with me in Provo. Including my first companion! It´s crazy how things ´work out´ but Elder Oelkers, who is my trainer, was in the MTC with me in Provo, along with like 7 other missionaries I know in this mission. The good news is that there exist many familiar faces here. The bad news is that it´s a bit discouraging to see everybody I started out with fluent, and loving life, while Im struggling to know what theyre all saying haha but Im grateful that Im here. Im happy for everybody who is fluent, and it gives me a vision of what I want to be also, hopefully sooner than later. But anyways, combining the two hours of sleep, the new experiences, new culture, the many trainings, and the deer in the headlights effect, the last few days have pretty much been a blur. When we got in to the mission office, tons of missionaries started to pile in and greet you, all excited and hyper while youre trying to not fall on the ground from exhaustion. Thats a bit dramatic it wasnt that bad but let´s just say I´m more than grateful that I was transferred to Birigui, which is a six hour bus ride from where we stayed last night in Ribeirão Preto. We just arrived a couple hours ago and the bus ride sleeptime was fantastic. I have to tell the story of my first lesson in the actual field. I went on divisions for some reason with one of the zone leaders in RP. Hes been out a while and is of course fluent (hes from Argentina). As we met up with these elders in their apartment, I could talk fairly well about where Im from and the CTM and whatnot, so I was feeling pretty good. Then we arrived at the house of someone who´s name I can´t pronounce or remember (this was before the bus ride...). When we got there she had us sit down and we started to talk. Well, she started to talk. I sat there and tried to concentrate on what she was saying, and I caught literally nothing. She found out that I was new, and she started to ask me questions, and then started to laugh because I couldn´t understand her thick accent, then I think she started to get annoyed haha so the progress is slow but hopefully somewhat sure. Elder Oelkers is American, so I can ask him questions in English, which I´m not sure if I like or not. Hes really good at he language, and we can talk pretty easily together, but I can´t seem to quite catch the overall idea of what people are saying yet. Ill pick out words here and there but connecting them is a challenge right now. I´m a little worried about learning without being in a classroom. Everyone always says oh just listen to everybody and speak as much as you can, but if you can´t catch much of what people are saying, it´s a bit tough to learn new words! Plus I´m a little bit timid in trying to speak as much as I can because I don´t want people to get annoyed at me not being able to communicate like a normal human being. But I know neither of these are good excuses, and I know that each day, especially as I pray really hard with real intent for the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues, that I´ll have it down in no time. Thank you for all the prayers, I know that I need them and that they are being heard. So many people dont have families who pray for them or who even care that theyre on a mission, and I know that Im blessed being on measure to have family and friends to support me and pray for me! Have a great week! back to Portuguese! Love, Elder Hirschi

Brazil for life...

October 3rd, 2014 A week has gone by at the good old CTM here in Brazil. Despite not knowing if I would survive, it's been pretty good. It's weird to goto the MTC in Provo Utah, then serve a mission in the field for more than a year, then have to go back to the training center, back to school, back to everything included in surrounding yourself with a bunch of not-yet-quite-grown-up 19 year old dudes in a classroom all day. But, I love it. I always said that I learned more Portguese in 6 weeks in Provo than I did in 3 years of spanish in high school. But now I can say that I have probably learned more in one week here in the CTM in Brazil than I did in 6 weeks in Provo haha crazy. We have special privileges as 2 weekers in this CTM to actually go do some proselyting in the city, whereas the 6 weekers here (who didn\t serve missions before) don't get to proselyte. We´re to the point where we´re pretty comfortable talking to people on the street, which is a complete miracle because we´ve only been here for a week! I should explain a bit more´s not like we understand everything the people are saying. By any means. But I can understand basically what they are talking about, and yesterday we had a 45 minute conversation with a college professor, and she accepted a Book of Mormon, so we´re making a little progress! I have spoken probably 90% Portuguese and 10% English since I´ve been here, so typing this email is a little odd, in fact I hope it doesn´t throw me off... Overall, it´s been a pretty good experience being here at the CTM. Beautiful views, new culture, good food, and new people you get to meet. I´m ready to go to the field though and really start getting the language down. The more talking and listening and having to listen and form conversations because you´re trying to proselyte to them, the better. It´s going to be really hard to focus and try to understand and talk with people when youre not fluent, and the culture is probably going to be a little bit of a shock, but I´d rather be in the field right now. We went to the Sao Paulo temple this morning, and it was great. Unfortunately they had a special session for Americans in English, even though I was looking forward to hearing Portuguese in the temple. It´s cool to actually experience words and things that I´ve studied for so long in the states, like people actually saying oi tudo bem, or street signs that I only saw videos of while studying Portuguese, etc. The only frustrating thing is wanted to know and master everything right now. I know the language will come with time, but I feel like its not really going to come until I leave the CTM... Thank you so much for all the prayers and the thoughts. You don~t really know all the prayes Heavenly Father hears on your behalf, and it´s nice to know that there are so many people on the Lord´s side, cheering each other on. I can´t wait to report on next week, because I´ll be back in the field! Love, Elder Hirschi